A total of 500 Teduray and Lambangian families affected by Paeng were identified by their local Indigenous Political Structure as most vulnerable. WEA Manila, led by Bishop Efraim Tendero, sent 500 Sphere Standard Relief Packs to two communities of Non-Moro Indigenous Peoples (NMIP) within the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). The first wave of relief operations was done last 15-16 November in Barangay Kuya, Municipality of South Upi, Maguindanao del Sur. The second wave was done last 14-16 December in Barangay Matuber, Municipality of Datu Blah Sinsuat, Maguindanao del Norte. PeaceBuilders Community served as the “delivery team” along with the enthusiastic volunteers from Timuay Justice and Governance (TJG). Formal courtesy letters were sent to municipal, barangay, and military authorities.
Teduray & Lambangian Tribes within BARMM
Matuber is a barangay in the Municipality of Datu Blah T. Sinsuat, Province of Maguindanao del Norte. This barangay is largely populated by the Teduray and Lambangian Indigenous Peoples. A number of them have inter-married with Maguindanaoans and Settlers from Luzon and Visayas. The Teduray and Lambangian tribes are part of the Non-Moro Indigenous Peoples (NMIPs) whose Ancestral Domains are within the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
In a dialogue with Timuay Labi Leticio Datuwata of the Timuay Justice and Governance — the Indigenous Political Structure of the Teduray and Lambangian Tribes — around 500 families affected by the Severe Tropical Storm Paeng were identified as most vulnerable. They are located in two Non-Moro Indigenous People’s communities reportedly unreached by conventional relief operations. The first wave of relief operations was done last 15-16 November in Barangay Kuya, Municipality of South Upi, Maguindanao del Sur. The second wave was done last 14-16 December in Barangay Matuber, Municipality of Datu Blah Sinsuat, Maguindanao del Norte.
The Timuay Justice and Governance
We, at PeaceBuilders Community, feel blessed to work with the Timuay Justice and Governance. We truly respect this Indigenous Political Structure.
In the midst of government neglect and oppressive socio-political realities surrounding them, the Teduray and Lambangian peoples re-organized the Timuay system of governance in 02-05 October 2002. They called it the Timuay Justice and Governance (TJG). They practice the following principles in their self-governance:
1. Closeness and Good Relationship with Nature. The environment is the basic source of food, medicines and materials for the home. It is also where the culture, tradition and customs of the tribes are rooted. The environment is the extension of life and body. Hence, it is necessary to preserve and maintain the people’s closeness to and good relationship with the environment. Thus, it is strictly prohibited to do any activity destructive to the environment.
2. Collective Leadership. The Timuay Justice and Governance comes from a tradition of collective leadership that promotes a free, peaceful and modestly progressive community. Because of this experience, the Tribal Title Holders and the whole tribes strongly believe that a collective leadership is still effective and appropriate even in the present modern times. Hence, it is necessary to implement, pursue, and develop it.
In a collective leadership, the authority of the Tribal Title Holders emanates from the constituency through the latter’s free and voluntary participation in the Village Assembly, Cluster of Villages Leaders’ Conference and the Tribal Congress.
3. Communal Ownership of Everything in the Community. For the tribes, things are not owned by anybody. Humans are just the stewards of things on earth and are free to use them in order to live and survive in this world. The Timuay Justice and Governance recognizes the long experience of the tribes in terms of communal ownership especially with regard to land and other basic sources of livelihood. On the other hand, it respects the right of individuals to own properties.
The Timuay Justice and Governance also recognizes the concept of the tribe that humans are just stewards and caretakers of things found on earth. The Timuay Justice and Governance develops individual and collective potential of the members of the tribes in agricultural production, industrialization and even technical work.
4. Equal Status of Every Human in the Society. The concept of equal status of every human being is based on the view that land is the Mother of humanity. This being so, human beings, as children are equal. It is forbidden to use fellow human beings in order to elevate one’s status in society.
5. Peace of Mind as Basis of Justice and Development. Peace of mind is the absence of conflict in the community, whether physical or emotional. This is the basis for justice and development for all and not the satisfaction of one person or a few people in the community.
6. Progressive Pluralism. Progressive pluralism is characterized by being open to other individual or group of people as provided in Sections 4-7 of this Téduray and Lambangian constitution that recognize the importance of human beings. Though open to other people, their beliefs and mind, it does not mean that their principles are lost.
Conflict-Sensitive Relief Operations
PBCI is aware of the decades-long land-based conflicts happening in Central Mindanao, particularly between the Moro people and the Teduray Lambangian people. So, we strictly follow conflict sensitivity in all of our field operations. We adhere to the guiding definition of conflict sensitivity by the Conflict Sensitivity Community Hub (CSC-Hub): “A conflict sensitive approach involves gaining a sound understanding of the two-way interaction between activities and context and acting to minimise negative impacts and maximise positive impacts of intervention on conflict, within an organisation’s given priorities/objectives (mandate).”
PBCI contextualize this definition and regards it to serve as a guide which can be adapted to a variety of circumstances. Therefore, we apply this guiding definition:
- to all contexts, regardless of the severity or frequency of violence, even in situations where underlying tensions have not recently resulted in violence;
- across and throughout all areas of our work and should be applied as an institutional approach (beyond tools);
- to all types of work, to encompass humanitarian, development and peacebuilding, also including, where appropriate, work conducted by local civil society, government or private sector partners; and
- it does not require changing mandates/priorities/objectives as it does not entail an explicit commitment to peacebuilding as a priority – it can be mainstreamed across any priority/mandate.
It is also noted that the enhanced understanding of conflict that stems from conflict sensitivity may lead PBCI to explicitly adopt peacebuilding priorities or activities.
WEA Manila and PeaceBuilders Community
PBCI is grateful to Bishop Efraim Tendero for responding to the “call for donations” by the TJG to help the Teduray Lambangian families who were affected by Paeng.
Bishop Tendero completed his term as Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA). He was recently appointed as the first Filipino Global Ambassador of WEA in its 175 years of history. He provides mentorship to younger leaders within the global family of 600 million evangelicals in the world.
PBCI has been serving as a peacebuilding consultant to WEA in the past decade. This relief operations partnership is a continuation of a long-term collaborative efforts between our organizations.